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excerpt
 
In the Realm of Carceral Cool
Jill Gasparina
(excerpt, p. 4)


Literary and visual works, which are as uninteresting as used postage stamps and perforce as lacking in variety, are now nothing more than an abstract commerce. Michèle Bernstein

Because the video and sculptural part of Magali Reus's work is particularly mute and abstract, it lends itself at first glance to associations which are as open as they are subjective. A film buff will perhaps see in Background a homage to Claire Denis's Beau Travail. A sports fan will read in it an ode to training and the obsessive improvement of the body. Attentive onlookers will appreciate the subtlety of the casts, and the mastery of the production. It might also be possible to see these sculptures as echoes of art forms from the 1960s. From post-Minimalism to a slightly Californian trend? Or as characters?
At times, projections made about Magali Reus's work say more about the tastes and obsessions of those looking at it, than about the work itself. This can give rise to an understandable feeling of annoyance, the impression of being in front of a puzzle, or a somewhat overly recalcitrant Sudoku. What is more, the very painstaking and controlled work leaves at first sight no room for any accident, nor for any manner of personal expression. The titles are in a generic English, bordering on caricature: Lift, Background, Closure, Finish, Pattern Recognition, Accessory, Renewed Purpose. So her work features abstract, minimal and generic forms—and these three terms are not taken here as synonyms, but rather as three different strategies for keeping the logos at a distance. No outside discourse makes up for the genericness of the forms. And Miss Reus is extremely cautious when it comes to commenting about her work. She scrupulously avoids guiding readings of it, and merely says what it is not. Unlike many artists whose sculptural forms work and acquire meaning because of their inclusion in a broader narrative, forever being re-written, Magali Reus offers only very few hints. These works are “flexible,” she concedes.
She nevertheless uses different methods to load her pieces with a symbolic content, and greatly increase their potential associative power.
(...)
 
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